Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Gender Affinity Effects in Vote Choice in Westminster Systems: Assessing “Flexible” Voters in Canada

  • Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant (a1) and Julie Croskill (a2)
Abstract

Under certain conditions, women are more likely than men to vote for women candidates, a phenomenon referred to as a “gender affinity effect.” Causal mechanisms connecting women voters to women candidates are gender consciousness, desire for descriptive representation, support for liberal social policy, the use of gender as a shortcut to vote choice among low-information voters, and a “party-sex overlap.” Existing work is focused on American elections, which tend to be candidate centered, so little is known about gender affinity effects between voters and candidates in other contexts. This article focuses on Westminster-style parliamentary systems, using the Canadian federal elections of 2000 and 2004 as test cases. Women in these systems have the same motivations to gravitate toward women candidates, for they are gender conscious and desire descriptive representation. But they do not have the same incentives to cast ballots for women because political institutions and practices tend to discourage candidate-based voting. The article pays particular attention to a segment of the electorate we call “flexible” voters, which is comprised of independents, leaners, and defectors. In Westminster systems, it is this group of voters who should be most sensitive to candidate-based considerations.

Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

John H. Aldrich 1995. Why Parties? The Origin and Transformation of Political Parties in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Deborah Alexander , and Kristi Andersen . 1993. “Gender as a Factor in the Attribution of Leadership Traits.” Political Research Quarterly 46 (3): 527–45.

R. Michael Alvarez , and Jonathan Nagler . 2000. “A New Approach for Modelling Strategic Voting in Multiparty Elections.” British Journal of Political Science 30 (1): 5775.

Susan A. Banducci , and Jeffrey A. Karp . 2000. “Gender, Leadership and Choice in Multiparty Systems.” Political Research Quarterly 53 (4): 815–48.

Clive. Bean 1990. “The Personal Vote in Australian Federal Elections.” Political Studies 38 (2): 253–68.

André Blais . 2002. “Why Is There So Little Strategic Voting in Canadian Plurality Rule Elections?Political Studies 50 (3): 445–54.

Kelly. Blidook 2010. “Exploring the Role of 'Legislators' in Canada: Do Members of Parliament Influence Policy?Journal of Legislative Studies 16 (1): 3256.

Craig L. Brians 2005. “Women for Women? Gender and Party Bias in Voting for Female Candidates.” American Politics Research 33 (3): 357–75.

Barbara. Burrell 1994. A Woman's Place Is in the House: Campaigning for Congress in the Feminist Era. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Bruce Cain , John Ferejohn , and Morris Fiorina . 1987. The Personal Vote: Constituency Service and Electoral Independence. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Pamela Johnston Conover , and Virginia Sapiro . 1993. “Gender, Feminist Consciousness, and War.” American Journal of Political Science 37 (4): 1079–99.

Gary W. Cox 1997. Making Votes Count: Strategic Coordination in the World's Electoral Systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Shannon N. Davis , and Theodore N. Greenstein . 2009. “Gender Ideology: Components, Predictors, and Consequences.” Annual Review of Sociology 35: 87105.

Kathleen A. Dolan 2001. “Electoral Context, Issues, and Voting for Women in the 1990s.” Women & Politics 23 (1/2): 2136.

Kathleen A. Dolan 2008. “Is There a ‘Gender Affinity Effect’ in American Politics? Information, Affect, and Candidate Sex in U.S. House Elections.” Political Research Quarterly 61 (1): 7989.

Kathleen A. Dolan 2010. “The Impact of Gender Stereotyped Evaluations on Support for Women Candidates.” Political Behavior 32 (1): 6988.

Morris. Fiorina 1976. “The Voting Decision: Instrumental and Expressive Aspects.” Journal of Politics 38 (2): 390413.

Richard L. Fox 1997. Gender Dynamics in Congressional Elections. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Elisabeth. Gidengil 1995. “Economic Man—Social Woman? The Case of the Gender Gap in Support for the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement.” Comparative Political Studies 28 (3): 384408.

Elisabeth Gidengil , Matthew Hennigar , André Blais , and Neil Nevitte . 2005Explaining the Gender Gap in Support for the New Right: The Case of Canada.” Comparative Political Studies 38 (10): 1171–95.

Patricia. Gurin 1985. “Women's Gender Consciousness.” Public Opinion Quarterly 49 (2): 143–63.

D. Sunshine Hillygus , and Todd G. Shields . 2008. The Persuadable Voter: Wedge Issues in Presidential Campaigns. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Leonie Huddy , and Nayda Terkildsen . 1993. “Gender Stereotypes and the Perception of Male and Female Candidates.” American Journal of Political Science 37 (1): 119–47.

David King , and Richard Matland . 2003. “Sex and the Grand Old Party: An Experimental Investigation of the Effect of Candidate Sex on Support for a Republican Candidate.” American Politics Research 31 (6): 595612.

Richard Lau , and David P. Redlawsk . 2001. “Advantages and Disadvantages of Cognitive Heuristics in Political Decision Making.” American Journal of Political Science 45 (4): 951–71.

Jennifer. Lawless 2004. “Women, War, and Winning Elections: Gender Stereotyping in the Post-September 11th Era.” Political Research Quarterly 57 (3): 479–90.

Clifford P. McCue , and J. David Gopoian . 2000. “Dispositional Empathy and the Political Gender Gap.” Women and Politics 21 (2): 120.

Monika L. McDermott 1997. “Voting Cues in Low-Information Elections: Candidate Gender as a Social Information Variable in Contemporary United States Elections.” American Journal of Political Science 41 (1): 270–83.

Phillip. Paolino 1995. “Group-Salient Issues and Group Representation: Support for Women Candidates in the 1992 Senate Elections.” American Journal of Political Science 39 (2): 294313.

Eric Plutzer , and John F. Zipp . 1996. “Identity Politics, Partisanship, and Voting for Women Candidates.” Public Opinion Quarterly 60 (1): 3057.

Kira. Sanbonmatsu 2002. “Gender Stereotypes and Vote Choice.” American Journal of Political Science 46 (1): 2034.

Kira. Sanbonmatsu 2003. “Gender-Related Political Knowledge and the Descriptive Representation of Women.” Political Behavior 25 (4): 367–88.

Ronnee. Schreiber 2002. “Injecting a Woman's Voice: Conservative Women's Organizations, Gender Consciousness, and the Expression of Women's Policy Preferences.” Sex Roles 47 (7/8): 331–42.

Robert Y. Shapiro , and Harpreet Mahajan . 1986. “Gender Differences in Policy Preferences: A Summary of Trends from the 1960s to the 1980s.” Public Opinion Quarterly 50 (1): 4261.

Eric R. A. N. Smith , and Richard L. Fox . 2001. “The Electoral Fortunes of Women Candidates for Congress.” Political Research Quarterly 54 (1): 205–21.

Donley T. Studlar , and lan McAllister . 1994. “The Electoral Connection in Australia: Candidate Roles, Campaign Activity, and the Popular Vote.” Political Behavior 16 (3): 385410.

Seth Thompson , and Janie Steckenrider . 1997. “The Relative Irrelevance of Candidate Sex.” Women and Politics 17 (4): 7192.

Susan Welch , and John Hibbing . 1992. “Financial Conditions, Gender, and Voting in American National Elections.” Journal of Politics 54 (1): 194213.

John. Zaller 1992. The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion. New York. Cambridge University Press.

John F. Zipp , and Eric Plutzer . 1985. “Gender Differences in Voting for Female Candidates: Evidence from the 1982 Election.” Public Opinion Quarterly 49 (2): 179–97.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Politics & Gender
  • ISSN: 1743-923X
  • EISSN: 1743-9248
  • URL: /core/journals/politics-and-gender
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 15
Total number of PDF views: 66 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 277 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 28th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.